OK, you've stood in line in the dark, elbowed you way down an aisle or two and picked up some deals at the stores. Now Monday has arrived and it's time to get back to the office and put some of that shopping silliness behind.
Today is Cyber Monday, the first workday after Black Friday, and as more and more people shop from the comfort of their computer -- sometimes when they are supposed to be working -- more and more retailers are offering online deals today, some that even rival the in-store specials.
(POLL: How much do you plan to spending shopping online? Vote in this poll and share the good deals you've found by clicking HERE.)
Cyber Monday, a term coined by Shop.org in 2005 after retailers noticed a trend of people shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Today is viewed as the online equivalent to Black Friday -- the ceremonial kickoff to the online holiday shopping season when shoppers flood websites expecting robust promotions and many retailers highlight some of their most compelling online holiday offers.
Webpronews.com reports that RadiumOne, a social advertising firm, has charted the progress of Cyber Monday throughout the years. It's found that Americans are spending more and more money on Cyber Monday every year, and that 2012 will be the biggest year yet. They project that Americans will spend $1.42 billion, which is 14 percent more than last year.
"I do all my holiday shopping online," Jamie Bronstein said on the Sun-News Facebook page.
Lorena Herrera said she does a lot of her shopping online.
"(I) got some amazing deals along
with free shipping and handling," she said.
Shoppers can use a comparison website, such as Bizrate, Shopzilla, Froogle or PriceGrabber to compare prices.
Some people have trouble pushing the "send' button that first time, afraid to send a credit card number, mailing address etc. off into the ether.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends shoppers make sure they are using a secure browser -- software that encrypts or scrambles the purchase information you send over the Internet -- to help guard the security of the information as it is transmitted to a website.
The FTC suggests that, when submitting your purchase information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar, and the phrase "https" in the URL address for a website, to be sure your information is secure during transmission.
Cyber Monday is not just for products either. News outlets report that the travel industry has jumped on board.
Barbara Delollis with USA Today reports that hotels and companies like Orbitz offered deals on Black Friday and some will do so again today because they do not want to be left out on the shopping craze.
"Everybody's doing it," Tom Botts of Hudson Crossing told Delollis. "They don't want to lose market share."
Are the deals really good? Yes and no, Botts says.
"Prices in the hotel industry move all the time, so, yes, this is a good opportunity to buy and there will be some good prices, but it doesn't mean you'll never see them again," he says.
Marketwatch.com reports that Travelocity is hosting a sale today where shoppers can save 50 percent or more on some hotel and vacation packages.
By Brook Stockberger - Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.
Brook Stockberger may be reached at 575-541-5457; follow him on Twitter @Bstockberger
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